A psychedelic compound present in certain toad venoms and some plants not only makes people trip absolute balls, it can reduce judgemental feelings, lift moods, and combat inflammation, too.
A new Dutch study published in Psychopharmacology administered synthetic 5-MeO-DMT, or “toad,” to 11 healthy participants. The participants’ blood samples and psychological test samples were taken three separate times: prior to consuming toad, shortly after taking toad, and a week after taking it.
The researchers discovered that toad takers scored lower for “negative affect” — a fancy term for feeling stress, anxiety, and/or depression — and scored higher for “non-judgement,” otherwise known as “not being a jackass.” So, basically, like most naturally derived psychedelics, 5-MeO-DMT improves mood and helps people be more accepting of others, and these effects last for at least 7 days after consuming it.
“5-MeO-DMT is a very unique and interesting molecule which certainly deserves further scientific attention,” Malin Uthaug, the study’s lead author and a PhD candidate at Maastricht University, told PsyPost.
DMT, which comes from ayahuasca, may be one of the world’s most powerful hallucinogens. A DMT trips only lasts for about 10-20 minutes, but it’s described as utterly surreal and mindblowing, distorting time so that 20 minutes can feel like hours, days, months, or even years. Dial DMT’s effects to 11, and you get a far more potent analog: 5-MeO-DMT, which can induce a trip that lasts 30 to 90 minutes.
5-MeO-DMT’s psychedelic window, which lasts an average of one hour, is perfect for assisted psychotherapy sessions, which typically go for 60 to 90 minutes, Johns Hopkins University researchers reported in March. Other psychedelics being investigated in the US and Europe, such as LSD, psilocybin, and MDMA, will last for hours, which is awesome if you’re looking for a good time, but is not ideal in a clinical setting.
5-MeO-DMT, as Uthaug noted, packs quite a psychological punch. Matt Kahl, a former US combat veteran who served in Afghanistan, has taken just about every psychedelic under the sun to overcome his PTSD. He told MERRY JANE last year that of all the psychedelics he’s tried, 5-MeO-DMT is hands-down the most powerful.
“It was like getting a glimpse into the divine,” Kahl said about toad. “It was pure love. It was extremely intense. I think more so than any of the others, 5-MeO-DMT has changed my life.”
A drug with that potency will naturally come with some adverse effects. The Dutch researchers found that some of their subjects found that their fears or confusions stemming from the toad trips could be overwhelming at times, and three of them said those adverse effects persisted for a week after taking the drug.
In addition to toad’s psychological effects, the drug also regulates immune system response, which could also explain some of the positive feelings that came with the trips. 5-MeO-DMT increased cortisol levels — a stress hormone that knocks down immune activity — while also reducing interleukin-6, a type of immune cell that can wreak havoc on the body if it’s chronically produced at high levels.
Uthaug, who has studied toad for the past three years, is already working on a second 5-MeO-DMT study which will involve brain scans, and she’ll present these brain imaging findings at an upcoming European psychedelics conference.
“There are yet some unanswered questions with regard to 5-MeO-DMT. One of them is: What happens in the brain after ingestion?” she said. “Addressing this research gap through an imaging study is important not only to enhance the current literature on the topic, but can also help to better understand the brain and so too human consciousness.”
The researchers noted that due to their study’s small sample size, their findings are not conclusive but certainly warrant further investigation.
Maybe Beavis and Butthead were onto something after all, eh?
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